Healthy Swaps

Suggestions for healthy ingredient swaps aren't terribly hard to come by, but they don't work for every type of recipe. Knowing when and where to make a substitute can mean the difference between a successful trade-out and a recipe disaster. Try the healthier ingredient substitutions below in the indicated situations for your best shot at success. Using substitutions in the right applications will result in less obvious changes. Still, if you find the flavor or textural changes too noticeable, try swapping less than the full amount – you still get credit for making a better choice!


In recipes calling for BUTTER, MARGARINE OR OIL in brownies, muffins, quick breads and cakes from a boxed mix,
Try instead: Prune purée, a 1:1 blend of applesauce and buttermilk, or butter spreads and shortenings specially formulated for baking that don't have trans fats.
Get these benefits: Less fat, cholesterol and calories.


In recipes calling for BUTTER OR MARGARINE in frosting,
Try instead: Marshmallow crème.
Get these benefits: Less fat, calories and cholesterol.


In recipes calling for BUTTER OR MARGARINE for baking and sautÈing,
Try instead: Cooking spray and/or nonstick cookware.
Get these benefits: Less fat, calories and cholesterol.


In recipes calling for SHORTENING in cookies and pie crusts,
Try instead: Trans and saturated fat-free shortening or margarine.
Get these benefits: Less fat, especially trans fats.


In recipes calling for HEAVY CREAM in custards and desserts,
Try instead: Evaporated skim milk or fat-free half-and-half.
Get these benefits: Less fat.


In recipes calling for WHOLE MILK as a beverage, in sauces or in baked goods,
Try instead: Skim or low-fat milk.
Get these benefits: More protein and less fat.


In recipes calling for SOUR CREAM in dips and salad dressings,
Try instead: Equal parts low-fat yogurt and low-fat no-salt-added cottage cheese.
Get these benefits: Less fat, possibly less sodium and more protein (depending on choice).


In recipes calling for SOUR CREAM in sauces and some baked goods,
Try instead: Plain yogurt.
Get these benefits: Less fat and cholesterol and possibly more protein (depending on choice).


In recipes calling for CHEESE for sandwiches, salads, casseroles and pizza,
Try instead: 2% milk, low-fat or fat-free cheese.
Get these benefits: Less fat and cholesterol and possibly less sodium (depending on choice).


In recipes calling for CREAM CHEESE for spreading,
Try instead: Fat-free ricotta cheese, fat-free or low-fat cream cheese, Neufchatel or puréed low-fat cottage cheese.
Get these benefits: Less fat and calories and possibly less sodium (depending on choice).


In recipes calling for WHOLE EGG in baked goods, omelets and other egg dishes,
Try instead: 1/4 cup egg substitute or 2 egg whites.
Get these benefits: Less fat and cholesterol.
Note: For baked goods, check to see that the substitute contains lecithin, which acts as an emulsifier or thickener.


In recipes calling for ICEBERG LETTUCE in fresh salads,
Try instead: Arugula, dandelion greens, spinach or watercress.
Get these benefits: More vitamins, minerals and fiber (depending on choice).


In recipes calling for CABBAGE in soups, stews and casseroles,
Try instead: Collard greens, kale, chard, mustard greens or spinach.
Get these benefits: More vitamins, minerals and fiber (depending on choice).


In recipes calling for CANNED FRUIT IN HEAVY SYRUP in desserts and salads,
Try instead: Fruit canned in its own juices or in water, or fresh fruit.
Get these benefits: Less sugar (fewer carbs and calories).


In recipes calling for WHITE RICE in side dishes, casseroles, soups and salads,
Try instead: Brown rice, wild rice, bulgur or pearl barley.
Get these benefits: More fiber.


In recipes calling for BREADCRUMBS in meatballs, meatloaf and casseroles, • Try instead: Dry rolled oats or crushed bran cereal.
Get these benefits:
More fiber.
Note:
Also replace some of the meat in these dishes (see GROUND BEEF below) with cooked mushrooms, beans, whole grains and greens for even more benefits.


In recipes calling for MILK CHOCOLATE CHUNKS OR CHOCOLATE CHIPS in baking,
Try instead: 1/2 the amount of miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips or finely chopped dark chocolate.
Get these benefits: Fewer calories plus the health benefits of dark chocolate.


In recipes calling for SEASONING SALT, GARLIC SALT, CELERY SALT OR ONION SALT in entrÈes, side dishes, dips and sauces,
Try instead: Salt-free dried herb blends, fresh herbs, garlic, fresh peppers, herb-only seasonings (such as garlic or onion powder, celery seeds or onion flakes), or finely chopped fresh celery or onions.
Get these benefits: Lower sodium.


In recipes calling for PREPARED SOUPS OR SAUCES, SOY SAUCE, BOTTLED DRESSINGS, PACKAGED CRACKERS OR CANNED MEAT, FISH OR VEGETABLES,
Try instead: Low-sodium or reduced-sodium versions.
Get these benefits:
Lower sodium.
Note:
Some canned vegetables (especially beans, whole tomatoes and baby corn), even low-sodium choices, can be rinsed to further remove sodium before use.


In recipes calling for BACON in sandwiches, casseroles, egg dishes, soups and stews,
Try instead: Canadian bacon, turkey bacon, smoked turkey or prosciutto.
Get these benefits: Less fat, calories and sodium.
Note: Check labels carefully. Some Canadian bacon may contain more sodium than regular bacon.


In recipes calling for GROUND BEEF in meat sauces, burgers, meatloaf and tacos,
Try instead: Lean ground turkey breast or ground chicken, or extra-lean or lean ground beef.
Get these benefits: Less fat.
Note: Look for ground chicken and turkey made from white meat instead of dark meat.


In recipes calling for WHITE BREAD in sandwiches, meatballs, meatloaf and casseroles,
Try instead: Whole-grain bread.
Get these benefits: More fiber and protein.
Note: When comparing nutritional information on packaged bread, be sure to compare similar sized loaves/slices as they vary widely.

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